Recipe: Chelsea Sugar Golden Syrup and Coconut Cake with Crunchy Oat Biscuit crumble
There’s something extraordinarily comforting and homely tasting about an Anzac biscuit. For me, this buttery, sweet, crunchy yet still slightly chewy biscuit, alongside a cup of milky Earl Grey is the epitome of a perfect down under afternoon tea, and I really respect this biscuit for being that.
I love finding out about the reasons for how recipes became classics, and why they were invented in the first place, and in reading up about the origins of Anzac biscuits I learnt a lot. According to Wikipedia, the first published use of the name “Anzac” in a recipe was in a cookbook published in Dunedin, dated back to 1915. But this was a cake, not a biscuit, and whoever created it was clearly a novice at writing recipes as no mixing instructions at all were given. Slightly later, a recipe for "Anzac Biscuits" appeared in a cookbook published in Sydney, 1917, but it was for a totally different biscuit. The same publication, however, included a prototype of today's Anzac biscuit, called “Rolled Oats Biscuits”. The combination of the name Anzac and the recipe now associated with it first appeared in a later edition of the original book published in Dunedin (now 1921) under the name "Anzac Crispies". Subsequent editions renamed this to Anzac biscuits.
Due to the nature of the recipe and the ingredients involved, Anzac biscuits last a long time and travel well, so wives would send them to their husbands serving on the front line abroad. Soon enough they became extremely popular with soldiers and at the time were also dubbed "soldier's biscuits.” The biscuits also played a big role in raising funds to support the war. They were commonly sold and eaten at public events and parades, and it is known that the fundraising accumulated 6.5 million pounds to support New Zealand troops in the war.
This story inspired me to put my own spin on an Anzac recipe, using the idea from that very first publication back in 1912, where they created an Anzac Cake. My recipe, however, embodies the flavours and textures of an Anzac biscuit, in all of its buttery, coconutty, golden-syrupy goodness. In wanting to stick to this old school, super traditional theme, it only made sense to use Chelsea Sugar ingredients (did you know Chelsea Sugar dates back to 1884?!)
Hope you enjoy xx
Golden Syrup and Coconut Cake with Crunchy Oat Biscuit crumble
For the cake:
150g butter, softened
100g Chelsea Raw Caster sugar
50ml Chelsea Golden Syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 organic eggs
50g spelt flour or regular flour
75g quick cook oats
50g fine desiccated coconut
75g ground almonds
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
Generous pinch sea salt
1/2 cup milk of your choice
50g sultanas (optional)
Golden syrup icing:
200g cream cheese
3 tbsp Chelsea Golden Syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract with seeds
Anzac biscuit crumble:
1 tbsp Chelsea Golden Syrup
1 tsp baking soda
40g rolled oat
40g desiccated coconut
50g spelt flour
30g Chelsea Organic Coconut Sugar
1 pinch of sea salt
1 tbsp golden syrup
First, make the biscuit crumble.
Preheat the oven to 180C fan bake. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
Melt the butter and golden syrup together in a small saucepan. Once bubbles start to appear on the surface take off the heat and set aside.
Add the baking soda to 2 tbsp boiling water, then stir into the golden syrup and butter mixture.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the oats, coconut, flour, sugar and salt and mix together.
While the mixer is on low speed, gradually add the golden syrup butter mixture to it. Stop the mixer once everything is well combined, being careful not to over mix.
With the help of a tablespoon, create golf ball sized balls of the dough and place each one on the tray. Using your palm press out each ball of dough down firmly to approximately 1/2 cm thickness. They do not need to look perfect!
Place the biscuits in the oven.
Bake for 8-10 mins or until golden and crunchy. Set the tray aside to cool.
Meanwhile, make the cake. Line 1 x 22cm tin with baking paper.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter, sugar and golden syrup until pale, light and fluffy.
Add the vanilla and then the eggs. Continue beating until well combined.
Next, add in the oats, flour, ground almonds, baking powder, spices and salt and mix until just combined. Fold through your milk and stop the mixer once combined. By hand, stir through the sultanas (if using).
Spoon the batter into the tin and spread out to the sides.
Bake for approximately 40 minutes or until golden in colour, springy to the touch and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
Allow the cake to cool for 10 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack.
Meanwhile make the icing. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese by itself until completely smooth. Add in the golden syrup and vanilla and mix until combined.
Once the cake is completely cool, spread a layer of icing onto it. Drizzle with extra golden syrup and fresh flowers.
Break up the Anzac biscuit into chunks and scatter them over the cake.
Serve at room temperature.
Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 days.